Steven Bowditch wore green on Sunday at the Valero Texas Open, and it proved to be telling after he secured his first PGA Tour victory to secure a spot in the Masters.
Bowditch fired a 4-over 76 to clear Will MacKenzie and Daniel Summerhays by a shot to become the 97th player in the field at Augusta National.
Here are 5 Things to know from Sunday’s round at TPC San Antonio:
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1. IT WASN’T PRETTY . . . But Steven Bowditch didn’t need it to be, as he managed to salvage a 76 to secure Australia’s third PGA Tour victory of 2014.
Bowditch is the just the latest in an impressive run by players from Australia, as John Senden won the Valspar Championship on March 16 and Jason Day won the WGC-Accenture Match Play on Feb. 23. Australia also won the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf on Nov. 24 and Adam Scott won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf on Oct. 16.
“I’m over the moon,” Bowditch said. “I really can’t believe it.”
Bowditch had only two birdies on Sunday, but his final one proved to be the difference, using a great chip on No. 14 for an easy birdie that pushed him to 9 under and two clear of the field. Bowditch missed a 3-footer for par on No. 18 to make the final difference a bit closer on paper.
The 76 is the worst final-round score by a winner since Martin Laird’s 3-over 75 at the 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational.
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2. FADING STARS: Matt Kuchar held a share of the lead early in the fourth round when he birdied the par-5 8th to move to 9 under, but bogeys at Nos. 10, 11 and 14 derailed the six-time PGA Tour winner, firing a 3-over 75 for a T-4 finish.
Kuchar wasn’t the only big name to fade late on Sunday, as Jordan Spieth made a run all the way up to T-5 behind three front-nine birdies that moved him to 5 under, but two bogeys and a birdie on the back stymied his comeback effort and he finished solo 10th. Spieth started his tournament with four consecutive bogeys and six over his first nine holes, ending the first round in 105th place. But three sub-par rounds pushed him to his fourth top-10 finish of the season.
Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk both finished T-6 at 5 under, although both failed to birdie the par-5 18th to apply any pressure to Bowditch.
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3. TOUGH DAY: Of the 71 players that teed it up on Sunday, only 20 shot par or better.
Of those 20, only 14 were in red figures, led by Brendon Todd’s 4-under 68 that lifted him to a T-6 finish, erasing a second-round 76 with back-to-back 68s on the weekend.
The course wasn’t just tough on Sunday, as only four players shot par or better in all four rounds: Daniel Summerhays, Will MacKenzie, Jerry Kelly, and Zach Johnson.
There were 15 rounds of 80 or worse in the tournament, including Danny Lee’s 11-over 83 on Friday.
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4. MASTERS MISSES: Chesson Hadley needed a top-7 finish this week to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, thus securing a spot in the Masters. But he’ll likely need to wait for another year after an 8-over 80 on Sunday that caused him to drop more than 40 spots on the leaderboard.
Hadley won the Puerto Rico Open in early March and has five top-25 finishes on Tour this season, but his victory in Puerto Rico did not earn him an automatic berth to Augusta, as it was a secondary event to the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
He won’t alone in missing out on a trip to Georgia, as Ryan Palmer needed a top-3 finish to move up from No. 62 in the OWGR, but fired an 10-over 82 to also drop nearly 50 spots. Palmer is in the field for this week’s Shell Houston Open and will now need a victory to punch a ticket to Augusta.
Hadley is not on the field list for this week.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Pat Perez picked up his sixth top-25 finish in 13 starts on Tour, firing a 5-over 77 on Sunday to drop to 11th . . . FedEx Cup leader Jimmy Walker made the cut on the number and took advantage, moving up to T-16 behind weekend rounds of 71 and 69 . . . Andrew Loupe finished T-4, his first top 10 of his career, with only one top 25 coming into the tournament.